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  • Writer's pictureJohn Curtis


SATURDAY: July 8, 2023: FOUR’S a crowd!

It’s Hawkesbury’s final meeting of the 2022-23 racing year tomorrow, and six jockeys are vying for premiership honours.

However, two of them – apprentice Zac Lloyd and senior jockey Jason Collett, a previous winner – are absentees, leaving fellow apprentice Tyler Schiller and seniors rider Jay Ford, Rachel King (also a previous winner), and Keagan Latham to fight out claiming the title.

In an unusual situation, Schiller, Ford, King and Lloyd all are on nine wins each, with Latham, who leads this season’s provincial premiership, and Collett both one win behind.

These are the bookings of the four jockeys remaining in contention:

. FORD (Gigi Fille, race 3), Navios (race 4), Lysander (race 5), Chappelli (race 7);

. SCHILLER (Hellova Nature, race 1), Deep Voyage (race 2), Just Easy (race 3), Denman Star (race 4), Chain Of Gold (race 5), Amarantz (race 7);

. KING (Brisket, race 1), Encroachment (race 4), Leandra (race 8);

. LATHAM (Shuttle Run, race 1), Doraskaya (race 2), Prince Of Wales (race 5), Turnaround Time (race 7), Global Encounter (race 8).

There is an extra incentive for Tyler Schiller to ride at least one winner as that would assure him of the apprentices’ premiership. He currently shares the lead with Zac Lloyd.

Dead-heats are nothing new in regard to Hawkesbury premierships.

Schiller shared the junior riding title when his then stablemate Tom Sherry (now a senior rider) in 2020-21, whilst both Sherry and Reece Jones dead-heated last season.

King created history by becoming the first female to win Hawkesbury’s senior riding title in 2019-20, was only one win behind Jason Collett the following season, and then dead-heated with Tommy Berry last season, with 15 wins apiece.

Godolphin’s James Cummings has won the trainers’ premiership with 19 wins, three clear of Chris Waller – and neither has a runner at tomorrow’s meeting.

Brad Widdup is in third place with nine wins, and again is Hawkesbury’s most successful trainer this season.

. Fellow Hawkesbury trainer Mike Van Gestel’s superb season reached new heights when No Statement ($7.50) humped a big weight to score at Newcastle today.

The four-year-old Press Statement gelding humped 63kg after apprentice Molly Bourke’s 3kg claim in the Midway Benchmark 64 Handicap (900m), and conceded between 4 and 8kg to his eight rivals.

He also drew near the outside, but none of it stopped him from overpowering his rivals to defeat Luna Rocks ($8) and Our Kobison ($2.60 favorite) to post his ninth career victory – and sixth this season.

Bourke has been aboard No Statement in his last three wins, the previous two at Kembla Grange. No Statement, who has also been placed on 10 occasions since August, provided his trainer with his 10th winner in 2022-23, bettering his nine winners in 2010-11.

And he has done it with only two horses in full training.

Van Gestel has also won four races with Titan Star, who was placed six times as well, and his two horses have grossed nearly $270,000 in prizemoney in the current racing year.

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